Ngermid Bay has drawn attention on a global scale for its unique environment. On December 9th, researchers from Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and Palau Coral Reef and Island Ecosystem (P-CoRIE) Project presented findings from studies conducted inside the bay to members of the Ngermid community. PICRC researcher, Marine Gouezo and Victor Nestor, presented along with P-CoRIE Chief Advisor, Dr. Takashi Nakamura, and P-CoRIE researchers, Hiroke Kise, and Dr. Haruko Kurihara. [restrict

The bay around Ngermid has little connectivity to the outside.  With an unusually low pH level, one predicted for the end of this century, and water temperatures reaching above average, the bay should be a death sentence for most corals. Astonishingly, what has been observed inside Ngermid Bay is the opposite.

The corals found inside Ngermid Bay are not only surviving, but thriving. Amongst an abundance of corals, the bay additionally hosts an array of genetically unique organisms. A study conducted by PICRC, indicates that corals within the bay have been isolated for so long, that these communities have adapted to flourish in such an environment. Additionally, results from PICRCs long term monitoring showed there to be little impact inside the bay following the 1998 bleaching event.

While these corals prove to be resistant to high water temperatures and low pH levels, they are vulnerable to land-based pollution and have very low recruitment rates. Excessive stress may result in a loss of this unique coral reef. As the world’s oceans continue to warm, these resistant corals may provide information valuable to the survival of coral reefs worldwide.

It is critical this research is made public so it can guide local management.  With this information the community can focus their management on minimizing human impacts. PICRC would like to thank the Ngermid community members, traditional leaders, and Legislator Armstrong Debelbot, for their help in organizing the community meeting. [/restrict]